Ford is coming back to Long Beach.

A much-talked-about research-and-development team working on the company’s next generation of electric vehicles will soon be headquartered in Douglas Park, adjacent to Long Beach Airport, Mayor Rex Richardson and Ford announced today.

“Long Beach is a key part of our broader strategy to attract top talent to develop future vehicles and experiences for our customers,” Doug Field, Ford’s chief EV, digital and design officer, said in a statement.

The announcement came during the mayor’s Grow Long Beach economic showcase on June 26.

Ford plans to open the campus in early 2025. A spokesperson said it would include two buildings and eventually accommodate up to 450 employees working on designing “a low-cost, flexible electric vehicle platform.”

The team, led by former Tesla executive Alan Clarke, has already made headlines for scooping up engineering talent from other electric car manufacturers like Rivian.

The moves are an expansion of a secretive “skunkworks” team that Ford’s CEO previously described as “some of the best EV engineers in the world” who were operating separately from the company’s “mothership” to design a platform that would underpin several types of vehicles.

In Long Beach, the team will be “developing a new generation of small, affordable vehicles,” said Emma Bergg, a spokesperson for Ford’s EV division.

“It’s a project that draws inspiration from the Model T, which was the epitome of innovation and affordability for the masses,” she said.

Ford has a history with Long Beach but hasn’t had a major presence here for decades.

In 1930, the Ford Long Beach Assembly Plant began building Model A’s on a plot of land just north of Terminal Island.

A photo from 1930 shows the exterior of the Ford Motor Company’s assembly plant in Long Beach, which was the company’s last major presence in the city — until now. Photo courtesy the National Parks Service.

Nearly 2,000 workers churned out hundreds of cars a day, and the nearby Badger Avenue and Badger Avenue Bridge were renamed for Henry Ford. The factory closed in 1958 when Ford moved the workers to its Pico Rivera plant.

The company’s decision to return is a full-circle moment, Mayor Richardson said.

Before their move to Long Beach, the Ford Advanced Electric Vehicle Team had been headquartered in Irvine, according to news reports.

Richardson said the city didn’t offer any incentives to get the company to relocate the project, but there was a “courtship,” where company officials met multiple times at City Hall and toured the Douglas Park site.

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“Ford’s arrival signals our Grow Long Beach strategy is working, without question,” Richardson said in a statement referencing his initiative that includes a pledge to draw advanced manufacturing and engineering jobs to the city.

Long Beach has become a hub for innovation among space startups and automotive companies, according to Richardson and Bergg. Richardson pointed out that Mercedes-Benz already has a research and development center in Long Beach, and companies like SpaceX and Vast, which is developing an artificial space station, are expanding their workforces.

“Having great connections for commuting and proximity to restaurants, grocery stores, workout classes and other facilities was a real draw for our team,” according to Bergg.

Field, the Ford executive, said the company plans to continue recruiting hardware and software talent from across the globe for the EV development team.

The new headquarters “will provide an ideal hub to enable that talent,” he said.

Editor’s note: This story was updated to correct the spelling of Bergg.

Jeremiah Dobruck is managing editor of the Long Beach Post. Reach him at or @jeremiahdobruck on Twitter.